How to Handle a Short-Term Job on a Resume

You were at a job for six months or less and it ended. Maybe you quit, maybe you were let go, but now you have to figure out if it’s worth putting on your resume.

Some employers see a short-term job as a big question mark on your resume. Are you a job hopper? Are you a problem employee? You need to be ready to answer those questions. If you aren’t, it might be better to leave it off your resume.

But how do you figure out whether you should put that short-term job on your resume? Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Do I have other experience to back me up?

If you have years of experience on your resume, leaving a short-term job off your resume isn’t going to hurt your chances. Unless you learned something valuable, like a marketable skill or job-relevant certification, don’t feel the need to put the job on your resume. On the other hand, if you don’t have much job experience (for instance, if you’re about to graduate college), you should include it. Employers understand that recent grads usually don’t  have deep and storied work histories.

  1. Is the job relevant to the position I’m interviewing for?

If you fell on hard times and picked up an in-between job while you continued to search for your dream job, you might not need to include it. If you’re interviewing for an administrative assistant position, and just left an administrative position due to bad working conditions or a layoff after six months, that’s worth including. If you worked as a cashier for a few months so you could find a new administrative job, consider leaving it off.

  1. What did I learn from the job

We touched on this a bit earlier, but if you learned valuable skills or earned certifications on the job, or were trained in industry-standard programs or procedures, it’s worth including that position. The same goes if the position was at a prestigious company in your industry.

  1. Why did I leave the position?

Your interviewer is going to ask this question, so you should be ready with the answer. If you have a good explanation for leaving your job after a short time period, like a company culture mismatch (you were expecting a team environment and your manager kept responsibilities heavily segregated), a department wide layoff, etc., feel free to include it. If you were fired, or the reason for your leaving is just not possible to explain, it’s probably best to leave such a short-term position off your resume.

Have you ever had difficulty deciding whether or not to include a short-term job on your resume? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below!

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